Kamal is unhappy!
His blog post ranks in position 3 for his target keyword "retaining employees". It's driving a good amount of traffic, but the quality of leads is poor.
It's his first content piece to rank on page one. However, he expected high-quality leads because an expert strategist helped him develop a content strategy based on customer pain points.
So, what could be wrong?
In his quest to find answers, Kamal compared his content with the 2nd ranking page and he discovered these striking differences:
In summary, Kamal's content is below the knowledge level of his audience. It's fluffed up with basic details his audience already knew.
Sadly, Kamal's case is only one side of the coin.
Jon's blog on customer retention for mobile apps can't hold visitors for a little above 11 seconds.
His content pieces are above the knowledge level of his audience. They're filled with technical jargon that threw off his CMO audience before they could dig in.
Are you in Kamal's or Jon's shoes?
Because after reading this article, you'll stop missing the target.
You'll know how to craft content at the right knowledge level that resonates with your audience.
It is the degree of your audience's familiarity with the subject matter before you educate them.
When a piece of content is at the right knowledge level, it:
In a 2022 research by Demand Gen Report, 55% of B2B buyers said they rely more on content to make a purchasing decision than they did a year ago. It proves that your potential customers are waiting on your content to help them choose you.
You'll be shooting yourself in the leg if your content is over their head or stresses them to find what they need.
But getting them to convert will be a walk in the park if the knowledge level resonates with them.
You don't need your leads to get into your email list to know if they're qualified or not. You can make your content strain out low-quality leads by writing at the knowledge level of your potential customers. That way, your sales team will only need to nudge them to become customers.
Chima Mmeje, a content marketing expert and founder of Zenith Copy, said:
"Content can do more than just getting your website to rank for a few keywords. Content can help you build authority in the mind of your audience so that even when they're offline and are thinking of a problem, your brand name is the first thing that comes to mind"
This means that to build authority with content, you must strike a chord with the mind of your audience.
To do that, craft content that's easy to understand and valuable from top to bottom.
The reason some ranking pages are indifferent about the knowledge level of their audience is that they're not product-led. For instance, magazines and affiliate sites. They're mostly traffic-driven hence, including basic ideas in their content gives them more advantages.
Even most product-led blogs are ignorant of the power of content that matches their audience's knowledge level.
These opportunities are like raw gold if you can pull off the right knowledge level.
Content at the right knowledge level has a predefined promotion plan. It gives you a sense of where the best audience for the content is located. And you'll be confident of getting results if you decide to pay to get more eyeballs on it.
If all you know about your audience is their title as the CEO or what an outdated persona says, you'll need a lot of prayers for your content to resonate with them. This is because such content pieces are vague and anchored on assumptions.
The hard work of audience research is a must for a B2B brand that wants to drive conversion through written content.
It may surprise you how your research results can crash your assumptions, like the case of
Claudiu, the co-founder of Achebee has this to say after performing audience research:
"When we started asking users how their paid account was created, we saw the person making the purchase was rarely a developer. Some of the folks that purchased a subscription were CTOs. But that's already a management function, rather than an individual developer. Most of the buyers are not technical at all.”
You can lean on your company records and social media to collect data. But it's best to hear from the horse's mouth through surveys and interviews.
Interviews allow you to observe the following:
Here are questions you should ask your audience to trigger answers that'll aid you in crafting content that matches their knowledge level:
You want to hear how they describe their problems. It'll help you come up with relatable stories and analogies when crafting your content.
It gives you an idea of the mistakes they're making and the unique angles to approach the content.
This gives you an idea of your competitors to take a cue from.
It helps you know what they expect from your content.
It helps you know who's consuming your content and how best to tailor it to them.
You will observe from your research that the knowledge level of your audience differs based on team size, budget, and product use cases.
For instance, you sell CRM software. The enterprise plan will appeal mostly to companies with 100–200 staff members. Typically, they have a CRM manager that makes the buying decision. This means they're familiar with CRM terminologies and would benefit more if your content focuses on your unique approach to solving their problem.
But the basic plan appeals more to start-ups where CEOs are jack of all trades. In this case, they need basic details to help them make sense of your content.
This leaves you with the big question—how do I satisfy these different knowledge levels in one article?
Here's the truth. It's impossible!
The "one stone to kill two birds" approach doesn't work in product-led content.
Each piece of content is a shot at one person (one audience segment).
The way out is to choose your favorite segment and write for them.
But that shouldn't be hard to do. The impact of their budget size and the number of customers from each audience segment on your ROI should guide you in deciding which knowledge to level choose.
After choosing your audience segment, proceed to create a buyer persona like this:
There are 2 factors you should put in place for your content to suit your audience. They include:
1. Using details about your audience that align with the keyword.
2. Tackling the keyword from an angle that your audience cares about.
These factors are glaring in the content by Justin Champion, content professor for HubSpot, about "How to Create Pillar Content Google Will Love". As a content marketer looking to learn the best way to create a pillar page, it won my heart over other content pieces ranking above it that I had to add it to my home screen.
Let's analyze it.
First: a detail about me.
Adventure is one thing you'll find me seeking when I need to destress. My challenge is how to create a content strategy using pillar pages that rank on Google.
You see why his analogy about mountain climbing resonates perfectly with me?
Compare that to this:
Be like Justin. Tap into your buyer persona for details that'll inspire tailor-made content.
Second: an angle that I care about.
For me, the angle through which the first ranking page introduced the content was unnecessary. Reading it felt like a waste of my time.
But despite Justin trying to make me understand what a pillar page is, which I already knew, I still cared. That's because the concept he used was new to me and it reinforced my prior knowledge of it.
If you're asking—how do I find the best angle to approach my content?
These 3 keyword-specific questions will guide you. They include:
You want to avoid saying things your audience already knows.
One of them is—their problems. If they didn't, they wouldn't be querying search engines in the first place. Don't waste their time explaining the problem. Rather, use stories, analogies, and data to help them understand it in a new light.
Another thing they most likely know is the generic solutions. The cliche advice that's false or deficient. You want to acknowledge their struggle with them and assure them you've got a tastier juice.
That's the reason they searched for your content and that's what you should tell them.
Here are some things that they likely don't know:
This is the part that they don't see coming, but it'll bring their knowledge of the subject to a peak. They include:
Note: Be careful not to go overboard, but don't leave any stone unturned.
Other tips for personalizing your content include:
Your audience's knowledge level may not have been a priority in your content creation process. But you've seen how much it can affect the result your content produces.
Start by conducting audience research. It's the foundation that sets the tone for your content. Your audience's behavior is constantly changing. Make it a duty to update your buyer persona at least once a year.
Use your knowledge of your audience to craft resonating content. That's how you win their hearts and make them choose you.